• DSHS HIV/STD Program

    Post Office Box 149347, MC 1873
    Austin, Texas 78714

    Phone: 737-255-4300

    Email the HIV/STD Program

    Email HIV, STD, Hepatitis C, and TB data requests to the Program – This email can be used to request data and statistics on HIV, STDs, Hepatitis C, and TB in Texas. It cannot be used to get treatment or infection history for individuals, or to request information on programs and services. Please do not include any personal, identifying health information in your email such as HIV status, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, etc.

    For treatment/testing history, please contact your local health department.

    For information on HIV testing and services available to persons living with HIV, please contact your local HIV services organization.

COVID-19 Updates from DSHS HIV-STD Program

Response to Hurricane Laura-Part B Care Services and THMP

August 28, 2020

The Texas HIV Medication Program and the Ryan White Part B Program are here to support those impacted by Hurricane Laura. Our response will continue to be developed as more news about the impact of Hurricane Laura unfolds.

THMP and Part B Eligibility:

THMP is currently using an emergency application as part of the COVID-19 response. This application should be used for new, recertification and self-attestation applications. It does not require a signature or documents to support income or residency. The same emergency application is used by Part B Care and Services for new client eligibility, recertification and self-attestation.

This application should address any barriers evacuees may face in applying for or renewing eligibility with THMP and to receive Part B services.

Medication distribution:

  • ADAP enrollees who are assigned a pharmacy that is closed or who have evacuated within Texas may contact THMP for assistance with changing the assigned pharmacy.
  • TIAP and SPAP enrollees who use a pharmacy that is closed or who have evacuated within Texas may go to any other pharmacy in the Ramsell network that their health insurance provider accepts.

Replacement of lost or damaged medications:

  • ADAP enrollees may request replacement of medications that were lost, damaged, or left behind when they evacuated. The replacement medications will be for a 60-day supply.
  • TIAP and SPAP enrollees will contact their health insurance plan for guidance on how lost or damaged medications are handled by the plan.

Texas evacuees who have left the state:

  • ADAP enrollees who have evacuated the state may receive a 30-day supply of medications through a CVS pharmacy in the state where they are temporarily housed. Please have callers contact THMP to determine eligibility and provide the ADAP recipient with information about where to receive this medication.
  • TIAP and SPAP enrollees who have evacuated the state should contact THMP to determine eligibility for receiving medications at an out of state CVS pharmacy. THMP can pay copayments for SPAP or TIAP at designated pharmacies if the recipient is eligible.
  • A person living with HIV may receive Ryan White services at the state they have evacuated to so long as their eligibility processes are followed. As soon as we become aware of eligibility requirements in states where Texas evacuees may be, we will send out information so you can direct clients as needed.

Out of state ADAP enrollees who have evacuated to Texas:

Please contact the home ADAP to determine how the evacuee should get their medications. If the home ADAP is unable to provide medications, please contact THMP and we will coordinate medication coverage with the home ADAP.

Out of state evacuees in need of RW Care and Services who have evacuated to Texas:

Utilize the emergency application to document eligibility and make services available whenever possible. Keep track of services for evacuees from areas outside of your normal service delivery area within Texas, as well as those who have evacuated from other states. Information will be made available at a later date on how to track evacuee information in ARIES.

We will continue to send out updates as the situation changes. Please know that the health and well-being of People Living with HIV, THMP participants, agency personnel, and all those impacted by Hurricane Laura are our top concern at this time.

Recommendations for THMP Pharmacies Receiving DSHS Pharmacy Branch Orders During COVID-19

July 23, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both FedEx and UPS have temporarily adjusted their signature guidelines for all shipments within the United States. This means that signature requirements may no longer be needed for UPS and FedEx deliveries. Drivers should still capture the recipient’s name by entering it manually, unless there is a signature listed on file, in which case the package may be left with no recipient’s name entered.

The pandemic and increase in e-commerce orders and shipments has had a significant effect on the major carriers. While they are striving to maintain proper procedures during this time, there is the chance for procedural lapses. This may cause vaccine and medication orders to be left unattended at provider’s offices or delivered outside of hours. In order to prevent the loss of vaccine or misplacement of medication orders, we ask that providers actively monitor their local guidelines (as signature requirements may vary and evolve depending on phased re-openings) and practice extra vigilance when expecting an order delivery. Please note the DSHS Pharmacy Branch only ships “cold” orders Monday-Wednesday with latest delivery to be expected on Thursday. The Pharmacy Branch can also provide tracking numbers on all shipments should you experience any abnormal delays by emailing the ITEAMS help desk at iteams.pharmacyhelpdesk@dshs.texas.gov.

If your normal hours of operation have changed due to COVID-19 restrictions, please continue to inform the DSHS Pharmacy Branch when submitting orders so that we can ensure correct delivery arrival. Please also ensure that there are appropriate signs in place for delivery drivers if the normal delivery locations have been restricted or changed. This may alleviate any confusion the delivery drivers may face upon arrival.

Please continue to keep up the outstanding services you have been able to provide in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Working together, we will make it through these unprecedented times.

COVID-19 Response Part B Care Services and THMP

July 20, 2020

COVID-19 Response Part B Care Services and THMP Extended through December 31, 2020 or later

  1. All clients with current THMP eligibility will have their eligibility extended until December 31, 2020 or later. All counties in Texas are under a state of disaster as declared by Governor Greg Abbott due to COVID-19. To allow sufficient time for clients and agencies to resume regular activities, both Part B Care Services and THMP will postpone regular eligibility processes until either after the state of disaster ends or December 31, 2020, whichever is later.
  2. During this time of extended eligibility, clients due for recertification or self-attestation will be asked to complete a brief emergency application. Both Part B Care Services and THMP are using this application to meet Ryan White eligibility requirements. Please note that this application has changed to include more needed demographic information.
  3. All new Part B Care Services and THMP clients will also be asked to complete the brief emergency application.  Both programs will only require proof of positivity and insurance verification.  THMP will require a Medical Certification Form (MCF). The MCF allows the medical provider to designate medications and to attest to client proof of positivity.

THMP and Care services will also be extending the following emergency response throughout the duration of the state of disaster, at least until December 31, 2020:

Emergency medication access procedures (THMP):

  1. An additional 30-day supply is being provided for all ADAP 30-day fill requests submitted by pharmacies.
  2. Orders for medications are now being accepted 20 days before the end of the  current bottle of medication. This includes both 30 and 90 day fills.
  3. Pharmacies are being encouraged to provide medications by mail order or delivery. If not, THMP will transfer interested clients to a mail-order participating pharmacy.

Part B services emergency response:

Administrative agencies and local agencies are advised to communicate with DSHS Services Consultant(s) and Nurse Consultant(s) in support of guarding the health of the medically fragile people and supporting practices that promote health. They are also advised to review and update subrecipient emergency preparedness plans to understand how critical services will be provided by clinics and other subrecipients in case of disruptions. The Care Services Group is also supporting the expanded use of technology for telehealth and telemedicine access.

Emergency Travel Response:

As a safety measure, DSHS is no longer scheduling in-person conferences and meetings. DSHS HIV/STD staff is using technology to meet the business and day-to-day operational needs. This will impact THMP and Care Services trainings, meetings, and site visits.

For up-to-date information on the novel coronavirus in Texas, visit:


Updates to THMP COVID-19 Response

May 8, 2020

The Texas HIV Medication Program (THMP) wants to ensure that those relying on Ryan White have access to medical care, support services, and medications to stay healthy as part of the DSHS COVID-19 response. Please read below for an update on the extension of emergency eligibility processes, electronic signatures, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Benefits, and extension of emergency medication access.

Emergency Eligibility Processes:

  1. All clients with current THMP eligibility will have their eligibility extended to August 31, 2020 (eligibility is currently extended until May 31, 2020). This will allow clients to continue to receive needed treatment during the time of emergency. During this time of extended eligibility, clients due for recertification or self-attestation will be asked to complete a brief emergency application. THMP will ask that documents for proof of income and residency be included only if the client is able to submit copies to the program. Both Part B Care Services and THMP are allowing the emergency application to be used. For the updated emergency application, please visit the THMP documents page. The Emergency Application requests critically needed information only, so it is very important that it is fully completed with no blanks.
  2. All new THMP clients will be asked to complete the brief emergency application and provide eligibility documents if they are able to. A Medical Certification Form (MCF) will be required.
  3. Agency workers may complete the emergency application with the client over the phone. The typed name date and agency of the worker will serve as an electronic signature for applications submitted electronically through ARIES.

Excluding Federal Pandemic Unemployment Benefits (FPUB) from Emergency Eligibility Determination:

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Benefits (FPUB) of $600 a week will be added to the benefits of Texans receiving unemployment for the weeks of April 4-July 25, 2020. Both THMP and Part B Care Services are excluding FPUB from income calculations for eligibility determination. Only the regular unemployment benefits, with a maximum total benefit of $521 should be counted.

Below is an example of how excluding FPUB unemployment benefits impacts a client with a household size of 1 who is receiving the maximum REG unemployment benefits:

The maximum Regular Weekly Unemployment Benefit (REG) for an unemployed Texan is $521. With the additional $600 a week from FPUB, this person will receive an unemployment benefit of $1121 gross income a week through July 25, 2020.

Both maximum REG and FPUB unemployment benefits counted: 483% FPL.

Only the maximum REG benefits counted: 225% FPL.

For THMP the maximum Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for an applicant to qualify for the program is 200% after spend down. Therefore, excluding the FPUB benefits will likely result in the client above qualifying for THMP after the cost of medications is subtracted from annual income (the spend down is applied).

For Part B Care Services, excluding the FPUB benefits will allow a client with maximum REG to qualify for services at or below 250% of the FPL.

THMP will also be extending Emergency Medication Access outlined below through August 31, 2020:

  1. An additional 30-day supply is being provided for most ADAP 30-day fill requests submitted by pharmacies. A few medications are excluded from this, including medications for the treatment of Hepatitis C (HCV)
  2. Orders for medications are now being accepted 20 days before the end of the current bottle of medication. This includes both 30 and 90 day fills.
  3. Pharmacies are being encouraged to provide medications by mail order. If they are not able to, THMP will transfer interested clients to a mail-order participating pharmacy.

DSHS HIV/STD Prevention Care Services Branch Action Plan to Minimize Exposure to COVID-19

April 21, 2020

The Action Plan outlines recommended changes in practice for DSHS public health regions (PHRs) and local health department (LHD) staff when performing routine HIV/STD prevention activities during the COVID-19 outbreak.

View the DSHS HIV/STD Prevention Care Services Branch Action Plan to Minimize Exposure to COVID-19 (DOC) 

CDC Recommendations for Treatment of STDs during COVID-19

April 7, 2020

CDC recently released guidance to STD prevention programs, including STD clinics, on providing effective STD care and prevention when facility-based services and in-person patient-clinician contact is limited.

View CDC guidance (PDF)

DSHS-Austin Processing of CT/GC/HCV Specimens

April 2, 2020

We want to give you an important update regarding HCV/CT/GC tests submitted to the DSHS-Austin laboratory. Due to the priority response to COVID, the DSHS laboratory will be initiating a new and temporary HCV/CT/GC specimen processing schedule. There is no intention of disruption for any HIV or syphilis specimen processing at this time.

Your current turnaround time of 72 hours for HCV/CT/GC may now be up to 14 days. Note, this is 14 days from the time the laboratory receives the specimen. This is separate and apart from any delays in shipping that may occur if there are issues with courier support during this time.

The good news is this does not change how you prep and ship the specimen to the lab.

You can find the full lab announcement on the DSHS Laboratory Services page.

Since this is a significant delay in test results, you may want to adjust your current practices or clinical management of presumptive CT/GC counseling and treatment messages:

  • STD Clinicians should be made aware of the increased time (up to 14 days after the lab receives the specimen) to receive GC/CT results and consider presumptive treatment for symptomatic clients accordingly. Patient-delivered partner therapy is typically initiated when lab confirmation of GC/CT is received, which will now take longer. Clients who are presumptively treated should be instructed to refrain from sexual contact until their GC/CT tests are resulted and partners are treated to reduce the risk of reinfection.

Your organization may explore other temporary options for your CT/GC processing. However, if you choose to change labs during this time, TIPP nor DSHS will be able to support these testing costs.

DSHS is currently exploring options for HCV testing at an alternate laboratory. We will update you as resources are identified.

We will reevaluate the situation in two weeks to see if any adjustments need to be made, and we will let you know as the situation progresses.

For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please visit the DSHS COVID-19 page.

Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov

DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center: 1-877-570-9779

Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Monday – Friday

Changes in THMP Mailouts

April 1, 2020

THMP will no longer be sending approval letters to clients who are recertifying or self-attesting eligibility.

We will continue to send letters for the following reasons:

New Enrollment - Approval
New, Recertification, or Self-Attestation - Denial
Medication Changes - All current enrollees
Pharmacy Changes - All current enrollees

Additionally, all Pharmacies that currently receive the Monthly Active Client List will continue to receive it.

We will also continue to enter approvals for renewals in ARIES. THMP is prioritizing new applications at this time. If you experience delays in recertification or self-attestation applications, please know that these clients continue to be eligible to receive medications.

Please help us to continue our program services in the most efficient way possible by limiting calls to the program to urgent issues. 

COVID and STD Clinical Services

April 1, 2020

The Texas Department of State Health Services, STD Prevention Program would like to take this opportunity to remind you of some options that are available to you as you care for your patients and their partners during the COVID-19 pandemic response.

As the need for social distancing changes your ability to see patients face-to-face, please remember that telemedicine visits and presumptive treatment are acceptable practices for uncomplicated symptomatic infections and exposures. If a patient reports symptoms or exposure to someone with an STD, providers may be able to treat them without having laboratory test results available (this includes not having collected a specimen at all for testing). Medical providers should advise all presumptively treated patients to be tested as soon as practicable, and to seek further medical attention if symptoms persist. If testing is not done for the patient, the medical provider should recommend that any partners seek evaluation and treatment from their healthcare provider or local sexual health clinic.

For patients with symptoms of gonorrhea or chlamydia or who are exposed to gonorrhea or chlamydia, the CDC recommended treatment regimen for gonorrhea remains ceftriaxone 250 mg IM in a single dose PLUS azithromycin 1 gm PO in a single dose. If this treatment cannot be administered in a clinical or field environment, the CDC guidelines state that an alternative oral therapy is cefixime 400 mg PO in a single dose PLUS azithromycin 1 gm PO in a single dose. The azithromycin dose will also treat chlamydia if it is present (see CDC guidelines for chlamydia treatment [CDC]). This alternative regimen is not recommended by the CDC for patients who may have pharyngeal gonorrhea as studies indicate it may be less effective in curing infections at that site and a test of cure is recommended. Dual therapy is necessary to cure gonorrhea and avoid antimicrobial resistance.

For patients with symptoms of primary or secondary syphilis or who have been recently exposed to syphilis, the CDC recommended treatment for early syphilis is Bicillin LA 2.4 million units IM. An alternative regimen for persons who are not pregnant in the CDC treatment guidelines is doxycycline 100 mg twice daily for 14 days. This is typically recommended by the CDC only for patients who are allergic to penicillin, as its efficacy is not as well studied. The only recommended treatment for persons who are pregnant remains Bicillin LA, as outlined in the CDC STD Treatment Guidelines [CDC].  All patients treated for syphilis should be tested at minimum 6 and 12 months after treatment. Presumptive treatment without blood testing for syphilis is not preferred, especially for persons who are pregnant, because a test performed months after the patient is treated will still be positive, and it will be unclear if the patient needs additional treatment at that time and what relationship the current test results have to prior treatment.

While it is ideal to collect specimens for HIV and STD testing concurrently with presumptive treatment, we understand that due to requirements for social distancing and redirection of clinical resources and space to attend to patients with coronavirus, the ability to collect specimens from patients may be reduced or eliminated.

One practice that may assist in collecting specimens for testing is that patients may self-collect specimens (urine, pharyngeal, vaginal, rectal) for chlamydia and gonorrhea testing. This practice can reduce face-to-face time with a patient.

Please remember that Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) is an option for some partners to persons diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea. This strategy may be helpful for exposed partners that cannot be seen in a clinical environment. Although some safety net clinical services providers and local health jurisdictions maybe able to provide DSHS-purchased EPT medications in the clinic or field setting, dependent on staffing capacity, medications can also be prescribed to patients or to their partners to be picked up at pharmacies and covered by their insurance payer.

Please continue to report laboratory confirmed cases of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases to your local health jurisdiction (LHJ) according to standard procedures. The complete STD screening and treatment guidelines can be located on the CDC website. Additionally, sample STD standing delegation orders (SDOs) for nurse clinicians and health departments will be posted on the DSHS HIV/STD Program website.

Please contact us or your local health jurisdiction if you have any other questions regarding STD testing, treatment, or follow up. Thank you for your continuing partnership in HIV and STD testing, treatment, and control, and for your commitment to public health. 

Letter Sent to All Active THMP Participants

March 30, 2020

Please advise THMP participants that they will be receiving a letter from THMP in the mail. This letter gives updates on what THMP is doing to help as part of the DSHS COVID-19 response. You can view a copy of the letter in both English and Spanish (THMP Letter English (PDF) | THMP Letter Spanish (PDF)).

Updated TIAP Form

March 27, 2020

THMP is continuing to accept Emergency Applications for enrollment and continuation on the program.

THMP is also able to provide COBRA assistance and private insurance assistance for eligible applicants. We have placed an updated Texas Insurance Assistance Program (TIAP) form online to help facilitate this process.

Please advise your clients that THMP may be able to assist if they have health insurance or have recently lost health insurance through an employer. It is important that all requested information on the application is completed to ensure the program can complete this request.

Save the Date: Maintaining Services During COVID-19

March 26, 2020

Please reserve Wednesday, April 1 for these webinars.  We would like to have these conversations by scope of work.  The time for each webinar is:

  • Routine HIV Screening: 10:00am – 10:30am
  • PrEP and nPEP: 10:45am to 11:45am
  • Core HIV Prevention: 1:00pm – 2:30pm
  • Client Level and Structural Interventions: 2:45pm – 3:45pm

These webinars will be facilitated by DSHS; however, it is our hope that each of you share your experiences and participate in the discussion to identify ways to ensure our most vulnerable populations are able to access services as needed. 

We will be utilizing the Zoom platform for these webinars. Please visit  support.zoom.us/hc/en-us to learn more about joining a Zoom meeting.

Here is the call in information:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 598 674 9524

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Meeting ID: 598 674 9524
Find your local number:  https://zoom.us/u/ac4t4cjn8m

If you cannot attend this call, please let us know.

Additionally, we wanted to share the CDC’s Social Media Toolkit with you all to use while ramping up your social media presence.

Care Services Group- Ryan White Part B and State Services Program

March 20, 2020

See below information in items A-G about Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates and preparations that may be important to your community and clients. Please let your Care Services consultant and Nurses know if you have any questions or concerns. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, we expect to see other potential changes over the coming months as we continue to work to ensure that our clients have access to quality care.

A. RW Part B and State Services Eligibility

Thank you for being flexible and adaptable as we continue to understand how to respond during COVID-19. As you know, guidance recently went out to the field about streamlined options for the THMP regarding eligibility requirements. In an effort to ensure consistency across programs, and to minimize stress in the field, we are adapting the same forms and requirements for eligibility for Ryan White Part B and State Service funds. We are asking folks in the field to move forward with a couple different directives to ensure that clients know that they are not at risk of losing access to crucial Ryan White services, and to ensure that we don’t get backed up in paperwork processes down the line. Here is the current guidance, and steps to take moving forward.

  1. All currently eligible Ryan White Part B clients have had their eligibility extended until May 31st. This means that no client should be denied Ryan White Part B services from now until 5/31 because of eligibility, and any client receiving services from now until 5/31 will be considered “eligible” for future monitoring purposes if they were eligible at the beginning of March.
  2. If clients who are currently ineligible need to access services, follow the same procedure for currently eligible clients. If you connect with a client who needs services, but has fallen out of eligibility, use the same Emergency Application to re-engage them in care – this form is all that’s required to re-engage folks lost to care, and to maintain them in care ongoing.
  3. In order to ensure easy access to ongoing care, and to help ensure folks are able to follow guidance around social distancing recommendations, we will not be requiring hard copies of proof of residency, income, or insurance. We will be using the same emergency application document developed by the THMP for both 6 month attestations, and 12 month recertification requirements. This means that until we direct you otherwise, the only documentation that is required to keep clients eligible for RW Part B services is the attached Emergency Application. Clients do not have to sign this form and the information can be gathered through a phone call.
  4. While all client eligibility has been extended through May 31st, it is recommended that you start working with clients whose 6 or 12 month attestation/recertifications are due now to complete the Emergency Application. We don’t want agencies or clients to stress about collecting ongoing eligibility documentation right now. Our first priority is to ensure that clients have what they need to stay healthy during this emergency – adequate supplies of medication, setting up telehealth services to ensure clients have ongoing access to support, and making sure clients have access to other basic needs like food, water, and housing. However, we can’t delay collecting this basic eligibility information too long, or the paperwork back-up will become overwhelming. Ensure that your clients’ (and your staff’s) basic needs are met first, then begin procedures to start collecting eligibility documentation (again, the attached Emergency Application is all that’s required for current clients to maintain on Ryan White Part B).
  5. New clients should be treated the same, the only additional requirement is a hard copy of proof of positivity. The THMP will only allow the Medical Certification Form (MCF) as proof of positivity. Other historically acceptable forms of proof of positivity will be allowed for access to Ryan White Part B services, as outlined in section 7.1.2 of our eligibility policy. We know that clients often need to access Ryan White services before they see a doctor and are able to get a completed MCF – please use all allowable proof of positivity documentation to help navigate new clients to other needed Ryan White services. A hard copy of the proof of positivity is the only difference between eligibility requirements for new clients and current clients.

B. DSHS HOPWA Program – Annual Eligibility Recertifications and Housing Quality Standard Certifications

Pending official guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), please see the following interim guidance limited to Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) annual eligibility recertifications and Housing Quality Standards Certifications.

The DSHS HIV Care Services Group has consulted with our HUD representative and the Cloudburst Group, a HUD-approved technical assistance firm, to see if they were aware of any HOPWA-related COVID-19 guidance and/or regulatory waivers. Cloudburst works closely with HUD’s Office of HIV/AIDS Housing (OHH). As of 03/18/20, the only official OHH guidance pertains to Housing Quality Standards inspections:

Q: Can grantees/project sponsors postpone housing inspections due to COVID-19?

A: Grantees should do their best to keep their staff and clients safe. If they feel it necessary to postpone annual housing inspections, they should document that it is due to the COVID-19 and put a policy in place regarding when and how they will consistently use that judgment and implement that policy. Guidance will come out from HUD addressing regulatory waiver issues at a later date.

In response to other questions from the HIV Care Services Group, Cloudburst went further and provided additional guidance pertaining to annual eligibility recertifications:

As for other parts of recertifications, all you really need to worry about is income. So, if your project sponsor hadn't already verified the client's income, I would go through the levels of verification/documentation for income up to self-certification and worry about getting physical, 3rd party documentation and/or completing any paperwork later […]. Also, as a simple reasonable accommodation, your program can also send anything and everything via mail to complete […].

Based on this Q & A, we can anticipate more guidance soon. In the interim:

Project Sponsors may opt to postpone Housing Quality Standards Certifications (unit inspections) per the terms of the Q & A above. Project Sponsors must track which inspections have been postponed and ensure that these inspections are completed upon return to normal operations.

  • Project Sponsors must obtain proof of gross income for annual eligibility recertifications.
    • 3rd party proof is still preferred, but a Form A - Self-Declaration of Income is acceptable, too.
    • If Project Sponsor confidentiality/information security protocols permit, households may send copies of 3rd party proof of income via mail, fax, or electronically (photocopies, PDFs, photos, etc.).
    • If households are unable to provide 3rd party proof of income, they may complete and submit Form A via the same means.
    • Or, as a last resort, Project Sponsors may verbally confirm a household’s income and complete Form A on behalf of the household.
    • On Form A, the household or Project Sponsor will check the appropriate box and complete the relevant fields.
  • For annual eligibility recertifications, please complete a File Structure Checklist and a Form C - Household Income Eligibility Worksheet at minimum. When possible, please attempt to complete all paperwork per usual (again, via mail, fax, or electronically). Depending on the presenting circumstances, Project Sponsors may postpone any additional paperwork (including rental assistance calculations) on a case-by-case basis until a more opportune time. Again, Project Sponsors must track which recertifications have been postponed and ensure that these are completed upon return to normal operations.
  • For any affected households, please make sure your approach and rationale are well-documented in the household’s case notes and please include a copy of this email in their files so that future reviewers can understand what is going on.

If you have additional questions pertaining to the DSHS HOPWA Program, please reach out to Blade Berkman, HOPWA Coordinator, at 512-578-6985 or at blade.berkman@dshs.texas.gov.

C. Clinic Resources for HIV services and outpatient clinics

Please see DSHS HIV Care Services COVID-19 Emergency Care Guidance (PDF) for COVID-19 clinical guidance for patient management to include yet not limited to the following:

  • Guidelines for high risk clients/patients
  • Links to CDC recommendations for people with HIV, the community and information for healthcare providers
  • Sample COVID-19 screening and testing algorithms, patient care guidance, and recommendations for the following: personal protective equipment, operations and facilities, and staffing provided by the University of Washington
  • Information on Ryan White Part-B services that may be provided via Telehealth or Telemedicine

D. Telemedicine & Telehealth

Governor Abbott approved the Texas Medical Board’s (TMA’s) request to temporarily suspend Texas Occupation Code 111.005 (a)-(b) and Title 22, Chapter 174.6 (a)(2)-(3) of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC). The Texas Medical Board asserts that strict compliance with these laws could prevent, hinder, or delay timely delivery of necessary medical services in relation to efforts to cope with the declared disaster.

This suspension is in effect until terminated by the Office of the Governor or until the March 13, 2020 disaster declaration is lifted or expires. Pursuant to this development, the following new procedures are in effect during the declared disaster period:

  • Real-time (live streaming) is no longer required for a telehealth or telemedicine visit but may be used as you have it available
  • A client does not need to be seen in person before a telehealth or telemedicine visit to establish a provider-client relationship
  • Allowing the use of phone consults to treat clients but only for telemedicine to establish a physician-patient relationship
  • This expanded use of telemedicine may be used for diagnosis, treatment, ordering of tests, and prescribing for all conditions
  • The medical standard of care must be met in all instances

Telehealth/Telemedicine informed consent: An informed consent must be in place with all clients receiving a service via telehealth or telemedicine. Two examples which can be customized for your agency/clinic:

HIPAA compliant platforms: When choosing a platform for telemedicine and telehealth for future use by your agency/clinic it is recommended to ensure compliance with minimum Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements

During the COVID-19 national public health emergency the Office of Civil Rights (OOCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “will exercise their enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for non-compliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Rules against covered health providers in connection with a good faith provision of telehealth” during this public health emergency. Providers are encouraged to notify patients that these third-party applications potentially introduce privacy risks, and providers should enable all available encryption and privacy modes when using such applications. For a list of allowable platforms and disallowed platforms see: HHS.gov OCR announcement and platforms.

E. HIPAAA certified email messaging

All HIPAA compliant email providers must ensure their solution incorporates all of the safeguards required by the HIPAA Security Rule. The solutions need to have access controls 164.312(a)(1), audit controls 164.312(b), integrity controls 164.312(c)(1), authentication 164.312(d), and PHI must be secured in transit 164.312(e)(1)

F. Texas insurers waiving cost sharing

The following health insurers and health maintenance organizations, representing more than 95% of the state-regulated market in Texas, are waiving consumer costs treating COVID-19 diagnostic tests as covered benefits, for medically-necessary testing of COVID-19. Check their websites for more information:  

G. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

CMS Issues Guidance to help Medicare Advantage and Part D Plans Respond to COVID-19

“CMS outlines the flexibilities MA and Part D plans have to waive certain requirements to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These flexibilities include:

  • Waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 tests
  • Waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatments in doctor’s offices or emergency rooms and services delivered via telehealth
  • Removing prior authorizations requirements
  • Waiving prescription refill limits
  • Relaxing restrictions on home or mail delivery of prescription drugs
  • Expanding access to certain telehealth services”



DSHS HIV Care Services - COVID-19 Emergency Response Guidance
Ryan White Part B Emergency Application English
Ryan White Part B Emergency Application Spanish
Sample Consent to Telemedicine English
Sample Consent to Telemedicine Spanish

THMP Emergency Application

March 20, 2020

At this time, THMP is accepting both the Emergency Application and regular application materials to apply for the program, renew/recertify, or to self-report/self-attest.

Emergency applications are preferred because your staff may do them over the phone and no documents are required. We still need Medical Certification Forms (MCF) for new applications.

Please note the following:

  1. THMP is prioritizing new applications over renewal/recertification and self-report/self-attestation applications. Those due to renew eligibility will continue to receive medications if THMP has not been able to process their applications past the due date.
  2. All THMP staff are not currently able to work in the office. You can help us increase our efficiency in the following ways:
    1. THMP has many clients and applicants who do not have the assistance of a community agency. Please limit phone calls to critical issues to allow THMP to handle the phone volume.
    2. Please check for status updates in ARIES instead of calling the office whenever possible. THMP is experiencing delays in entering information into ARIES, including receive dates, so allow additional time.
    3. Please advise clients to place medication orders 20 days early.
    4. Please do not send duplicate applications or other materials. It takes additional staff time to sort and identify duplicates.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and Preparations: Texas Insurers Waiving Cost-Sharing

March 17, 2020

The following health insurers and health maintenance organizations, representing more than 95% of the state-regulated market in Texas, are waiving consumer costs for medically-necessary testing of COVID-19. Many also are offering telemedicine at no cost to consumers. Check their websites for more information:

Last updated May 20, 2021